The Manitoba government and the Heart and Stroke Foundation are giving 1,000 emergency defibrillators to community clubs and other non-profit organizations.
Under the province's Defibrillator Public Access Act, all sports complexes and other public places must be equipped with automated external defibrillators (AEDs) by January 2014.
So to help get more non-profit community groups on board, the province and the foundation are handing out 1,000 of the devices free of charge.
"The more AEDs we have out there, the more lives we know will be saved," said Diana Bayles, the AED program manager with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba.
The province is subsidizing the costs of the 1,000 AEDs, while the foundation is distributing the devices to eligible groups.
There are currently about 1,500 AEDs registered in Manitoba, which Bayles says is not enough.
Officials with Winnipeg community groups say they run on tight budgets, so they are happy the province is subsidizing the costs of the AEDs.
"The cost of them shouldn't be a factor in whether you have one or not, but in a lot of cases it is. It is fairly expensive to purchase them," said Jim Carson of the Corydon Community Centre.
The centre is the largest in the city, with three sites in need of AEDs. The cost, Carson said, is upwards of $10,000.
If all 1,000 defibrillators are handed out, organizations can still go to the Heart and Stroke Foundation to purchase a device at a 40 per cent discount.